Whenever you visit or think of a bar, you usually notice or imagine a row of bar stools lined up along the counter. It’s a staple piece of furniture for the industry, but have you ever stopped to wonder why bar stools usually don’t have backs? It may seem counterintuitive for a place that serves alcohol to not have extra support on their chairs, but there’s actually a reason for that.
Bar stools don’t have backs for two main reasons: social promotion and business logistics. Because they don’t have backs, they’re smaller and cheaper, which allows owners to use more of them. It also encourages socialization among the customers.
It actually makes sense for bar stools not to have backs when you think about it from that perspective. Backless bar stools have become very stereotypical for a bar setting and for that type of atmosphere in general. In the rest of this article, we’ll further discuss the reasons why bar stools don’t have backs, and we’ll also mention some of the disadvantages that come up.
Why Do Bar Stools Not Have Backs?
When we mentioned that backless bar stools encourage socialization, we’re specifically referring to the fact that because those bar stools don’t have backs, it’s easier for the customers to turn and talk to other nearby customers. Their design also creates an open atmosphere that inherently promotes talking and interaction with everyone.
Aesthetic and Atmosphere
A lot of their ability to encourage socialization comes from the atmosphere they create due to their design. Backless barstools are very slick and thin, so they look like they take up less space than they actually do. This makes it so that you can put a lot of barstools in an area without making it seem as though there’s a lot.
This makes it more inviting for customers to come and sit down, and it will be less jarring when more customers start to show up because it appears as though there are not many seats to begin with. The backless design also makes it easier for customers to sit down, converse with others, and leave.
Because the barstools don’t have backs, it makes them easier to approach and sit down. While you’re sitting down, it makes it easier to talk to those nearby because you can easily turn to all sides. Once you’re done sitting down, the backless design also makes it easier to leave because you just have to turn to the back and get up.
These may seem like small characteristics, but when you add them all up and compare that to a conventional chair, you can see how a backless barstool openly invites customers to come in and socialize. This is a big deal for bars because most of them rely on regular customers and atmosphere, and barstools can greatly help entice people to visit and stay.
Comfort And Durability
Now it may not seem like it, but backless barstools are a lot more comfortable than they appear. The obvious glaring issue is that you don’t have much support because there’s no back to lean on, and there’s no denying that a barstool with a backrest will be more comfortable for long periods. However, backless barstools do have some ways to add comfortability in other ways.
First, many backless barstools have adjustable heights to accommodate different people. For reference, the average bar counter height is about 42 inches, and backless barstools have the ability to change height if the bar counter height is too high or low. It doesn’t change the comfortability of the barstool itself, but it can make the situation more comfortable for you.
Another strategy that can make backless barstools more comfortable is using seat cushions to add padding on the stool. This can be very significant in providing more support for the back, which is the biggest issue when it comes to backless barstools. Backless barstools also usually have feet rest which again helps put pressure off of the back.
In addition to their relative level of comfort, backless barstools are very durable, which is another reason why owners like to use a lot of these types of stools.
The spindles that hold the back of the stool together are very sturdy on a backless barstool, and they typically don’t break. Backless barstools are also very lightweight which makes them very easy to move around.
One of the last biggest aspects that influence why bar owners prefer to use backless barstools is the amount of money that they’ll save by using them.
Because there’s no back, these types of stools are less expensive to make. Also, because backless barstools are so durable, bar owners save even more money by not having to replace them.
Another factor that comes from the reduced price is that it gives bar owners more room in their budget to buy more of these stools. This could be a reason why you see backless barstools so abundantly when you visit certain bars. Like we’ve said earlier, it helps contribute to the atmosphere of the bar, so you can think of it as an investment.
The Downsides To Backless Barstools
Now that we’ve talked about the main benefits of using backless barstools, we should now take a look at some of the disadvantages of using backless barstools.
Most of the disadvantages of backless barstools boil down to the fact that a backless barstool is just simply not meant to be sat in for a long time, so if you have a venue that requires long sitting, you might want to reconsider.
These barstools are more popular because the sitting is more intended for people to have a quick drink and converse with other nearby customers. Compare that to seating for a traditional restaurant where they use conventional tables and more comfortable seats, or even booths; this is because people are meant to be sitting for a while talking with personal people they know.
Now let’s talk about the specific reasons why backless barstools may not be the best option for your situation.
Comfort And Size
As we’ve emphasized before, backless barstools are not comfortable if you’re going to sit on them for an extended period of time.
The back support makes a world of difference when it comes to the comfortability of sitting, and most bars get away with having backless barstools because they don’t expect their customer to sit down for that long.
In addition to the general lack of long-term comfort, backless barstools usually have a smaller seating area as well, which adds to the overall discomfort. This issue can be further exaggerated depending on who’s sitting, but it’s safe to say that it can pose a problem to virtually anyone who sits, especially if they sit for a long time.
Lack Of Safety
Now a lack of comfort is an issue in and of itself, but you also have to keep in mind that backless barstools are most often found in bars, which is a place that serves alcohol.
Backless barstools are already inherently less stable without that support, and when you combine that with drinking, which can off-balance your equilibrium, that can become a recipe for disaster.
It doesn’t take much for an unfortunate accident to happen, and because backless barstools lack much support in general, the risk is definitely heightened. Bar owners should really be aware of this potential problem if they plan to use backless barstools, but their lack of general stability should be a concern anyways for whatever type of venue you have.
What may seem like an insubstantial choice of furniture for a bar actually has a lot of nuance and decision-making behind it. Even though the considerations behind using backless stools may be deemed as that significant, many people will still probably be surprised to learn all the various advantages and disadvantages of backless stools.